USDA Funding for Renewable Energy Available


Washington, D.C., May 4, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is seeking applications to increase the production and use of renewable energy sources. Funding is available from four USDA Rural Development renewable energy programs authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill). USDA is accepting applications for grants and loan guarantees in the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) until June 30, 2010.

Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture
Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture

“This funding will help spur investments in technologies that will reduce reliance on fossil fuels, conserve natural resources and help build a sustained renewable energy industry in rural America,” Vilsack said. “Support provided by USDA through these programs will not only benefit the environment, it will create green jobs and help America become more energy self-sufficient.”

REAP provides funds to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. This funding supports Community Wind investment by providing a financial incentive that does not depend on tax liability. Additionally, because a REAP grant is considered taxable income, it does not trigger a reduction in the Section 1603 Treasury Cash Grant program created in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

A total of $87 million is available for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements, leaving $9.9 million for energy technical assistance and $2.4 million for feasibility studies. Eligible projects include installing renewable energy systems such as wind turbines, solar, geothermal, biomass, anaerobic digesters, hydroelectric, and ocean or hydrogen systems. Funding may also be used to purchase energy-efficient equipment, add insulation, and improve heating and cooling systems. In fiscal year 2009, this program helped fund 1,485 REAP projects in 50 states, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific Islands.

Information on the REAP program is available on the USDA Rural Development web site. The Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 79, Monday, April 26, 2010, published a "Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) for Inviting Applications for Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grants and Guaranteed Loans Under the Rural Energy for America Program."